Informe semanal de noticias del mercado ruso de la Oficina de Turismo de Tenerife en Moscú
- Destination News
New regulations are introducing electronic visas for the foreigners who apply for an entry visa to come to Russia. The electronic visas will become valid as of January 1, 2021. E-visas will allow travelers to visit Russia for tourism, business and humanitarian purposes. The service will be available only in the Russian Far East region. China, South Korea, Japan, EU countries and non-EU Schengen states will be included in the list of the countries whose citizens will be able to get electronic visas.
The experts said that the electronic visas may lead to tourist traffic increase by 20-25%.
- Aviation News
Russian President Vladimir Putin banned Russian airlines from flying to Georgia as of July 8, 2019. At the same time, all Russian citizens who are temporarily in Georgia should be returned.
6 Russian Airlines including Aeroflot, S7, Ural Airlines, Smartavia, Pobeda, Red Wings are to cancel their flights to Georgia.
The travel embargo is imposed after violent protests in Tbilisi last week.
Georgia is a popular destination for Russian tourists, who are attracted by its dramatic mountain scenery, gourmet offers and local wine. «Tourism in Georgia is on the rise, and the decision shocked the whole industry,» Aleksan Mkrtchyan, head of Pink Elephant, a chain of travel agencies, said in a statement. «This ban is silly,» Margarita Semyonova, a 19-year-old Russian student, who visited Georgia last year, told the Agence France-Presse news agency. Elena Chekalova, a prominent chef and culinary blogger, questioned on Facebook: «Why are they deciding for us what we cannot eat, where we cannot fly, who we cannot be friends with?» However, the social media present a diversity of opinions and there are some travelers who decided to cancel their trips in fear to go to Georgia whilst the anti-Russian sentiments are so strong. The film crew of a Russian state-run television channel was attacked in Georgia’s capital on Saturday amid a flare-up in tensions between the two countries, Russian media have reported. Russia and Georgia have not had full diplomatic relations since 2008. The temporary suspension of flights may be followed by insurance companies’ refusal to provide travel insurance for those travelers who decide to go on vacations in Georgia, the travel media reported over the weekend. Obviously, the slowdown of traffic is inevitable until the situation improves and the ban is lifted.
- Travel Industry
Russian travel companies have been advised to stop selling holiday packages to Georgia, while Russian tourists already in the country have been told to return home. The Russian Association of Tour Operators said that there are currently 5,000-7,000 Russians in Georgia on tours organized by the travel companies, while around 15 000 Russians are traveling on their own this month. Russians have been a significant part of the tourism boom that Georgia has seen over the past several years. The financial losses of Russian tour operators and agents would be great. According to The Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, more than 3,5 thousand people bought tours to Georgia, and it means that now Russian tour operators are forced to return them ₽103-122,5M in total. The ban echoes action Russia took in 2006 on flights and imports of Georgian wine and mineral water when tensions between the countries rose previously. There are speculations in the travel industry whether the new Russian travel embargo for Georgia will affect the tourism flow to other destinations. However, it seems like there will be no major change in the travel pattern as the flow to Georgia is not the same as it was in Turkey and Egypt when the authorities stopped the regular and charter flights to these destinations.
According to the official statistics of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi, 33,597 Russians visited the Emirate in the four months of 2019, and it is 35% more than last year. Russian tour operator Space Travel reported 60% increase of the tourist flow to Abu Dhabi. New 5 stars hotels in Abu Dhabi and on Saadiyat island opening made a great impact on the Russian tourist flow to the destination.
Russian tourists spent €6M in Greece in January-March 2019, which is almost 70% more than during the same period last year, the portal Argophilia reports.
«According to the Bank of Greece, for the first quarter of 2019, the banks’ revenues amounted to €212M (plus 40%), this is due to increased spending of travelers. Thus, British tourists spent €32M from January to March (plus 60.8%), French €12M (plus 40.7%). The Russians left €6M in Greece, which is 69.8% more than during the same period last year,” the portal writes. As noted by Argophilia, over the first quarter of 2019, tourists from Germany spent 1.4% less – 37 million Euros. In March, the tourist flow to Greece amounted to 773 thousand, which is 9.1% more than during the same period last year. The increase in the number of travelers is noticeable from countries outside European Union (plus 1.8%). The number of guests from EU decreased by 8.6% and amounted to 207 thousand. Revenues from tourism in March amounted to 95 million Euros, about the same figure a year ago. «Thus, the number of tourists from Germany in March amounted to 70 thousand (minus 20.8%), from France the tourist flow almost doubled to 30 thousand (plus 47.7%). The number of British tourists increased by 22.8% travelers (51 thousand). The largest increase in visitors was recorded from Russia – 11 thousand tourists from the Russian Federation visited Greece in March, which is one and a half times more (plus 151.7%).